The OSCE Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs opened its 30th session in Skopje, North Macedonia, on November 29, with Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili in attendance.
On December 1, Ilia Darchiashvili spoke at the 30th session of the OSCE Council of Ministers, highlighting the challenges Georgia faces due to the occupation of its territories and the severe consequences of aggression. The Minister emphasized the country’s commitment to a policy of conflict resolution and sought international support for these efforts.
The Minister noted that Russia’s war against Georgia was the first open attempt since the Cold War to change the borders of a sovereign state by force. He stressed that for more than 15 years, Russia has been illegally occupying the indivisible regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali – in gross violation of the basic principles and norms of international law.
Ilia Darchiashvili highlighted serious human rights violations in the occupied territories, emphasizing the isolation of the population by barbed wire. People face restrictions on movement and lack basic necessities, with illegal arrests and abductions posing a significant threat to their lives. He noted that the recent killing of a Georgian civilian, Tamaz Ginturi, near the village of Kirbali, Gori district, by Russian occupation forces underscores the continuing violence against ethnic Georgians.
Darchiashvili referred to the policy of peaceful settlement of the Georgian conflict and noted that this approach has two main goals: the de-occupation of the territories occupied by the Russian Federation and the reconciliation of the divided society.
In this context, he underlined the important role of the Geneva International Discussions and stressed the importance of the support of the international community.
FM Darchiashvili’s meetings
On November 29, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, met the Special Representative of the Secretary General of NATO for the Caucasus and Central Asia, Javier Colomina.
According to MFA, the parties discussed current NATO-Georgia agenda issues, Georgia’s progress on the Euro-Atlantic integration path, future prospects for deepening practical cooperation and expectations for the NATO Washington Summit in 2024.
Javier Colomnia congratulated Georgia on the recent positive recommendation received from the EU Commission and emphasized NATO’s support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
On November 29, FM Ilia Darchiashvili met with Icelandic counterpart Bjarni Benediktsson.
According to MFA, they discussed enhancing cooperation between the two countries across various fields and underscored Georgia’s interest in strengthening ties with Nordic nations. The ministers emphasized the need for increased political dialogue amid global geopolitical challenges. FM Darchiashvili thanked Iceland for supporting its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and European aspirations.
The European Commission’s recommendation for Georgia’s candidacy status was emphasized, with expressed optimism that Georgia will deserve candidate status by the end of the year.
On November 29, Ilia Darchiashvili had a meeting with Alexander Schallenberg, the Austrian Federal Minister of European and International Affairs.
According to MFA, Ministers discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in multilateral formats, with a focus on Georgia’s EU accession agenda. Both ministers welcomed the European Commission’s recommendation for granting Georgia candidate status and recognized the positive progress made by the country. Darchiashvili expressed gratitude to Austrian counterpart for providing principled support for Georgia’s EU aspirations.
The meeting focused on the regional security environment, with Darchiashvili briefing on Georgia’s occupied territories. Austria’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in various international forums was noted.
At the end of the meeting, the Ministers expressed their readiness to continue active work to maintain the positive dynamics of high-level relations between the countries.
On November 30, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Ilia Darchiashvili met his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the parties emphasized the strong bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The opening of the Norwegian Embassy in Tbilisi was highlighted as an important milestone that underscores the successful cooperation between the two countries.
Discussions also highlighted the potential for further development of sectoral cooperation. Ilia Darchiashvili expressed his gratitude for Norway’s role as a major international donor contributing to Georgia’s institutional modernization and economic development.
At the end of the meeting, Darchiashvili invited the Norwegian representative to visit Georgia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilia Darchiashvili met with Matteo Mecacci, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
According to the Foreign Ministry, the meeting highlighted the longstanding and productive co-operation between Georgia and the OSCE, which has significantly contributed to democratic reforms in various fields.
The Minister briefed the ODIHR Director on Georgia’s progress in implementing the EU recommendations and plans outlined in the European Commission’s Enlargement Report. The importance of ODIHR’s involvement in supporting reforms was underlined.
According to the MFA, the discussion also focused on the ODIHR’s role in Georgia’s upcoming elections in 2024, with the Minister expressing the country’s commitment to ensuring a free, fair and transparent electoral process.
The meeting was marked by controversy over the participation of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who arrived in North Macedonia to attend the OSCE ministerial, which resulted in the meeting being boycotted by the Baltic states and Ukraine. At first, Bulgaria granted permission for Lavrov’s aircraft to use its airspace. Reports suggest that the plane entered Skopje through Greece.
More to follow …